Updated July 2nd
Please note I have had to change my email address , which now is laurie.manser@gmail.com please use  this if you wish to contact me.
I do hope that some of the hints will be of use to you, I can only say what I do and why I do it
 as , there is not a right or wrong way of doing things in gardening .
I did write a small book about my life from a garden boy in the 40's and we sold it when I did my "Memory" talk, we donated 50p per book to the British Heart Foundation who received over £1000.00 as a result. I do not get it printed now but on the right is a link by which you can download it to read.
I have been asked to put my talk on to a disc for those who have been unable to hear it, I have done this and a few discs are available ,please email me for details.
At the bottom of this page if you click on "older posts" there are more hints

Garden Hints for July

What a strange year we are having, weather wise.Some days are like summer whilst the next day can be cold, the one thing that does seem constant at the time of writing is the lack of rain. I my-self do not like to start watering as I think if you wait the roots will go down to find moisture, but others start as soon as we get a cuple of dry days, as I have said before we do our own thing. Many potatoes were frosted by the had frosts but have now recovered.
 If you use slug pellets please use them as per instructions, they should be spaced out not put in piles which then makes them a danger to wild life. Some crops will now be ready to harvest like beetroot and some potatoes. Beetroot are best harvested while they are small and tender, it is better to sow small amounts over a period than to have a lot all at the same time. You can still sow lettuce, radish, etc. to give crops over a period and even runner, broad beans and French beans can still be sown.
Keep an eye on the watering of your tomatoes as irregular watering can lead to blossom end rot when you get a hard black area were the flower was. If you are growing them as a single stem it is best if you can remove the side shoots in the early morning whilst the stems are stiff and full of moisture.
Seed of spring cabbage can be sown so that you have plants for planting out later.
Leeks can be planted where early potatoes have been lifted, I like to trim both tops and roots of leeks when I plant them so that they go well down into the hole.
When the first flush of flowers have finished on the roses they can be dead headed, I like to cut the stems down about 2 thirds so as to encourage new growth lower down but most just remove the dead flower head. A feed of rose fertilizer will help the next flowering.
If you are growing sweet peas do keep them cut so that they flower for a long time rather than start to set seed, as this will soon stop them flowering.
Strawberries will need picking as they ripen and should you find any damaged by slugs etc do remove them completely from the crop area so that they do not start to decay and spread mound to other fruits.  If you want to save runners for a new bed next year limit it to just one or two per plant. You peg them into the soil or better plunge some 3“ pots and peg them into those.
Gooseberries and other berried fruits should be harvested as they ripen.
If you can keep the lawn cut each week it is much better than letting the grass get long and then cutting low. Should we have a dry spell of weather it helps to raise the blades a little. If you want to give the lawn a light feed it will do good but avoid doing this in a hot dry spell as it will burn the finer grasses

Sweet peas

Thse are my first bunch picked 25th May which is right as I usually pick chelsea week.
I went to my allotment this morning to check after hard frost. pleased to see sweet peas still looking good. They were sown on 8th October last year.

Potatoes ready for planting after at least ten weeks chitting, I will plant them on the flat so that I ahve plenty of soil for earthig up  and the potatoes grow through the centre of the ridge rater than come out of the side.

more onion news

More pictures to show the progress pf my onion sets. Top two taken 14th April

Onion sets just starting to  show, I plant well down in the soil so that no trouble with birds, having got rid of white rot I get a good crop.

Onion 2016


I am putting these pictures onto my website to show the effect of using garlic powder for white rot. When I first took over this plot I suffered a complete loss of my onion crop due to white rot, I have treated this area with garlic powder and this year they really do look good. I just need some sun to help ripen them up.

Sweet peas

It has been a bad year for me with sweet peas, I decided to try saving my own seed last year and this has been very reasonable but when I planted the plants back in March ,  the very next day we had storm Katie. This almost blew them out of the ground but enough survived to amke  best part of a row. As they came into flower I had bud drop plus a spell in hospital, this meant I had to let the plants go for about a week meaning bent stems. However when show day came I managed one vase of ten, these were good enough to bet  best in show so I still hold the cup which I forst won 42 years ago. I have not had it every year but will keep trying.

Some of my seedling daffodils

These are 3 of my seedlings that I have registered and named over the years. I have had prizes at London shows with them including "Best" in section with Ann's Blush. We also have Molly Ann named after our grand daugther
Top bloom Ann's White , bottom left Ann's Cream.and bottom right Ann.s Blush

Broad Beans 2016

Thess last two photos were taken on May 8th, the row is not complete as I lost a few in the bad storm but should get a good crop before the blackfly start
In past years I have sown my Aquadulce broad beans direct in the round in Oct/Nov but this year as the ground was very wet and in the past I have lost some to the mice etc. I have tried starting them in a tray. I have no greenhouse now so they have been in a cold frame. They are now ready for planting out and look quite good.

broad beans 2014/15

Broad Beans now in flower , they came through the winter very well.
Some of my Aqaudulce broadbeans , I sow in late October as they are a good hardy variety to stand the winter.  Sometimes they get damaged with servere frost but even then they will break at soil level.

Had some sucess at our show  Saturday April 11th. Many varieties were not out but using those that were I won 4 trophies along with 10 first prizes. I am very pleased as they are all grown on my allottment now having lost our agrden when we moved from the tied house. The pink trumpet is called Pink Silk.

Daphne in bloom , grown from seed

Daphne in bloom , grown from  seed

Top picture shows ready to plant early March

Now ready to plant early March

There seems to be a lot of chat about if we should chit seed potatoes ready to plant or not. I always say there are  many different ways of doing things in gardening, but just looking at the alterantives. If you do not  chit you have to  leave the poatoes in the bag which will give you  long weak shoots whereas the shoots are much better if laid  out, so I chit as in the photos.  I bought these just before  Christmas and they will not be planted for some long time yet. The larger ones will be cut when I plant them.

Onion White rot

I have mentioned before about having white rot in my onions and treating the soil with garlic powder.
I still had white rot badly this year (2014) but reading that others seemed to have more success I thought I would try once more. I am not sure where I got the garlic powder last year but when I got some more this year as used for horses it smelt a lot stronger than last years, so I have once more treaeted the soil and will see what happens next year.

Black Berries and sweet peas

I did post a picture of the large flowers on my blackberry canes , now I have started picking some very nice large blackberries
A fortnight ago I had some success with my sweet peas that I now grow on the allotment, four first prizes with one cup, one medal and a certificate.

Had to thin some of my gooseberries this morning, this is their first year but the branches were touching the ground. I did buy from a  fruit nursery so that they were lifted one day and I planted them with a little "root grow" the next day.

Potatoes,Black berries and Onions all showing promise, the onions are growing where I have lost previous crops with white rot but I have treated the area with garlic powder to check if it does help overcome it.  Latest update shows that the garlic powder was not a success, there is still a lot of white rot in the crop. To bring this right up to date I have havested a few of the onons but the powder really did not work

Spring Show 2014

We managed to put a few entries into the LGA show, Ann got best flower arrangemant and I got the Henry Reader Cup for the best vase of trumpets. I did stage a vase of 3 "MollyAnn" but only got a second.

"Molly Ann" a variety that we have registered with the RHS and Daffodil Society named after our grand daughter.

Managed to win the six vase class and a few others, the single bloom is Bravoure quite a nice 1w/y.
The top photo is top to bottom left to right. Achduart,Estrella, Privateer,Golden Aura,Gold Finger and

Cutting flowers for flower shows

We try to get members to cut their flowers early for shows but many do not think this is possible so I thought I would show how I manage now that we live in a flat and all my flowers are grown on the allotment some 3/4 mile away. The top picture are flowers cut ready for Saturday's show at Bidborough , today is Wednesday, the lower picture are the flowers I used last Saturday at Pembury, they where nearly all cut the previous Sunday as we were going away for a couple of days. Some of the lower ones may be used again this Saturday.

ready to start begonias

I have just got my begonia corms out ready to start. I would if I had some heat etc. have done this some time ago but now I have to make the best I can. Some of these tubers are over 25 years old.

start of the New Year

 Nice sprouts now forming on my seed potatoes but not sure when the ground will dry out enough to think of planting

 Bought some seed potatoes yesterday so have laid them out ready for sprouting. Picked sprouts and purple sprouting this morning on the allotment also managed to weed daffodils ready for a feed of Vitax Q4.This picture was taken mid January